Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion: Practice Patterns Among Greek Spinal Surgeons

Savvas L. Spanos, Ioannis D. Siasios, Vassilios G. Dimopoulos, Kostas N. Fountas


Background: A web-based survey was conducted among Greek spinal surgeons to outline the current practice trends in regard to the surgical management of patients undergoing anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) for degenerative cervical spine pathology. Various practice patterns exist in the surgical management of patients undergoing anterior cervical discectomy for degenerative pathology. No consensus exists regarding the type of the employed graft, the necessity of implanting a plate, the prescription of an external orthotic device, and the length of the leave of absence in these patients.

Methods: A specially designed questionnaire was used for evaluating the criteria for surgical intervention, the frequency of fusion employment, the type of the graft, the frequency of plate implantation, the employment of an external spinal orthosis (ESO), the length of the leave of absence, and the prescription of postoperative physical therapy. Physicians demographic factors were assessed including residency and spinal fellowship training, as well as type and length in practice.

Results: Eighty responses were received. Neurosurgeons represented 70%, and orthopedic surgeons represented 30%. The majority of the participants (91.3%) considered fusion necessary. Allograft was the preferred type of graft. Neurosurgeons used a plate in 42.9% of cases, whereas orthopedic surgeons in 100%. An ESO was recommended for 87.5% of patients without plates, and in 83.3% of patients with plates. The average duration of ESO usage was 4 weeks. Physical therapy was routinely prescribed postoperatively by 75% of the neurosurgeons, and by 83.3% of the orthopedic surgeons. The majority of the participants recommended 4 weeks leave of absence.

Conclusions: The vast majority of participants considered ACDF a better treatment option than an ACD, and preferred an allograft. The majority of them employed a plate, prescribed an ESO postoperatively, and recommended physical therapy to their patients.

J Clin Med Res. 2016;8(7):506-512


Anterior cervical discectomy; External orthosis; Fusion; Graft; Physical therapy

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